There is a lot of talks these days on childhood obesity and its effects on children and parents, that I just had to write a blog post on it.
With access to so much processed and fast food out there, it is a hard battle for parents to keep kids away from foods that might be unhealthy and have adverse effects on kids.
Growth in technology worldwide has been rapid over the last few years. This has led to kids finding entertainment on the television and other techie gadgets rather than outdoor activities. Encouraging and educating them on the harmful effects the increase in screen time can cause, is important. Best way to do this is by building a child’s confidence in physical activity. Have a “playtime for kids” for at least 30 minutes every day with family or friends
I have the doctors here at the Children’s Health Care, to explain this growing concern in America and around the world. They have given some valuable insight on answering some questions below.
At what age should treatment be given for childhood obesity?
Most parents agree that their babies are adorable. We love those cute, round cheeks and chubby little legs. But, if your pediatrician begins to warn that your child’s baby fat is beginning to become a health concern, pay close attention to their warnings!
Childhood Obesity in America is Now Considered an Epidemic.
In America, childhood obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions, and the statistics are frightening:
- 10% of infants are overweight or obese
- 27% of 2-5-year old children are overweight or obese
- 33% of 6 to 11-year olds are overweight or obese
Research now shows that by 5 years of age, childhood obesity may already be well established for some children. Pediatricians now monitor the weight of children from birth much more closely, making recommendations for weight loss for some patients as young as two years of age.
Doctors Recommend Prevention as the Best Treatment for Childhood Obesity
Guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has sought to reverse this trend of childhood obesity by emphasizing prevention, not just treatment. The AAP urges pediatricians to prioritize and take a more active role in children’s weight management. Training pediatricians to recognize children who are at risk for obesity early on, and working with families to address the issue before the child’s weight problem becomes extreme, is thought to be more effective than treating the symptoms and reversing poor eating habits.
From birth to the age of two, physicians should use the World Health Organization growth charts to measure a child’s height and weight progress. After the age of two, the AAP recommends doctors use the Center for Disease Control’s Body Mass Index charts to plot the child’s height and weight at every visit. This way, obesity prevention measures can begin before the child is too far above the recommended levels. This is something you should ask your child’s doctor to do at every visit.
Childhood Obesity: Serious Health Risks, and Lack of Insurance Coverage
One problem doctor’s encounter when advocating for a healthy weight for their youngest patients is that insurance often does not recognize childhood obesity as a medical condition, unless the child develops serious health complications, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Liver inflammation
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
This is frustrating, because childhood obesity affects an enormous amount of families, with the vast majority of these cases being preventable. And, when addressed during childhood, obesity can be reversed, saving the child from a variety of serious health complications as an adult.
Experts have found that the conservative approach to treating childhood obesity is most effective when implemented as soon as the child is determined to be “at risk”. The treatment that is most successful involves a change in the entire family’s relationship with food, nutrition, and exercise, and careful monitoring of the child’s weight, growth, and development.
There you go! Expert and advice and statistics on this growing epidemic.
Key here is prevention rather than treatment!
So how do we prevent this??
Here are some really easy and realistic for parents to start doing from TODAY…
- Stock up on healthy food at home.
- When you shop at the grocery store try not to buy foods high in sugars or unhealthy fat. This is the best way to prevent you from cooking or eating food that can lead to obesity.
- Swap sweets and sugary dessert to fruits that have natural sugars and fiber. Creating desserts that are made with a blend of fruits are a good idea. Here is one such recipe for inspiration!
- Exercising as a family is a good idea. It’s motivating, keeps the entire family fit and is the best way to encourage each other to reach self-made goals.
Important thing is to start early. Encourage children at home to eat nutritious and well-balanced food incorporating fruit, veg, and whole grains. Monitor child’s health by visiting the doctor to keep track of your kids’ health and well-being.
Have any questions, you need answers for? Leave them in the comments box below.